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Ministry of Education has eventually conformed with the law the tender for digital textbooks

 HotNews.ro journalists had discovered the imposition of some illegal qualification requirements in this particular tender

Education Ministry's decision to cut nearly 10 times the amount of turnover required as a condition of qualification shows the importance of monitoring public procurement.

Under “Public Procurement Files” section within the project “Combating Fraud in Public Procurement", HotNews.ro journalists found that a requirement for qualification to tender for digital textbooks was illegal, requiring from the potential competitors a turnover well above the legal threshold.

The requirement, as formulated by the National Assessment and Examination Center, an institution which does not lack public procurement experts, was violating the law.

It had all the appearances of an unduly restrictive condition meant to knock out from this tender the overwhelming majority of the publishers.
Friday, April 25, 2014, only three hours after HotNews had questioned the Ministry of Education and National Authority for Regulating and Monitoring Public Procurement (ANRMAP) on the legality of such requirement, the National Assessment and Examination Center published an erratum which substantially reduced the amount of required turnover.

For example, in the original documentation, a company was able to enter the competition for the purchase of new Romanian language textbooks only if it had a turnover of minimum 11 million lei (about 2.5 million euros) between 2011 and 2012. After Hotnews journalists discovered the unlawfulness of such requirement and reported it on ”PP Files” section of hotnews.ro, this amount was reduced to 1,372,213 lei (about 309,000 euros).

It shows that if public procurement, tenders and contracts are continuously monitored by professional journalists and civil society, there are more chances to discover on time such "errors", avoiding them to bear their negative effects - low quality of works, services or goods purchased by the authorities and institutions, dedicated tenders, distorted competition.

Ministry of Education's repealment of this unreasonable and illegal requirement is a successful precedent that could lay the foundation for a functional monitoring system of public procurement.

 

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